february 2014

Cari colleghi,

vi inoltro la newsletter della I-RAS.

Cordiali saluti,




x. Rinnovo carica di chair I-RAS
x. Premio YABP 2014
x. Petizione candidato alla Presidenza IEEE
x. Three (3) Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowships at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
x. Call for 2 ERS (Early Stage Researcher) fellowships within SMART-E Marie Curie Action
x. RoboSoft: the Coordination Action for Soft Robotics


x. Rinnovo carica di chair I-RAS

Al termine di quest'anno scade il mio quarto anno di guida di I-RAS. E' opportuno un avvicendamento.

Il nuovo chair verra' eletto dai membri tramite una procedura che vi comunichero', nel frattempo vi chiederei di inviare al mio indirizzo di posta possibili candidature. Inviatemi anche il nome di un collega che ritenete adatto al ruolo, lo contattero' poi io per verificarne la disponibilita'.

Il nuovo chair iniziera' la sua attivita' da gennaio 2015 e mi affianchera' negli ultimi mesi del 2014.

Le candidature possono essere inviate fino a fine aprile, le votazioni avverranno nei mesi di giugno-luglio.

Gianluca Antonelli


x. Premio YABP 2014

E' disponibile il bando per lo I-RAS Young Author Best Paper Award 2014. la scadenza e' fissata al 15 giugno:



x. Petizione candidato alla Presidenza IEEE

Inoltro una richiesta del prof. Tariq S Durrani:

I would be grateful if you would encourage friends and acquaintances to sign the Petition too.
This may be done electronically by visiting:
More information is available at:
and my Position statement is given at:

Thank you.


Tariq S Durrani.

Professor Tariq S Durrani OBE FRSE FREng
Petition candidate for 2015 IEEE President Elect position
Research Professor
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow Scotland UK
Tel: +44 (0) 141 548 2540
Fax: +44 (0) 141 552 2487
e-mail: durrani@strath.ac.uk


x. Three (3) Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowships at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

BC: 69409- 69410- 69411
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher

Job title: Marie Curie Fellow

Post: position with an enrolment on a doctoral training programme

The Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR) at the Istituto Italiano di
Tecnologia – IIT (an English speaking Institute) located in Genoa is seeking
to appoint 3 Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in the framework of the
FP7 Marie Curie ITN Smart-E (Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced
Robotics Training in Europe).

SMART-E is a Doctoral Training Network, funded by the EU Commission’s FP7
Marie Curie Programme, with the aim to prepare the next generation of leading
experts in advanced robotics to secure a sustainable manufacturing sector in

The network involves the collaboration of eight European institutions – the
University of Salford, University of Zurich, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Technical University of Munich, FESTO, Airbus
and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.

The network is bringing together leading experts in the field of embodied
intelligence, compliant, soft robotics, advanced manufacturing, industrial
robotics and automation, smart materials and machine learning in Europe. You
will utilise new technologies (mostly pioneered by SMART-E) in state of the art
training environments.

The successful candidate will benefit from high quality industrial experience
and interdisciplinary projects that are individually tailored. The research
training programme will combine technical expertise acquisition with business &
leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills in order to provide you
with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle not only the technical
challenges, but also to play a key role in embedding/deploying these solutions
into practical applications.

The researchers will have at least 2 placements outside of their host
organisation; this may entail a short stay outside their host country.

Theme 1: Development and control of robot manipulators for safer physical
human robot interaction.
The focus of this research is the design optimization, development and control
of a novel compliant manipulator and related actuation systems with variable
physical damping actuators (VPDA,
for robust, fast, adaptable and damage-safe motions and interactions. The
target is to improve the capabilities of the existing CompAct™ arm
(http://www.iit.it/en/robots/compact-arm.html) by exploring both the
mechatronic technological limits (structural materials, actuation and sensing)
and new design and control philosophies towards the development of high
performance manipulation systems. The Department of Advanced Robotics at IIT
possesses a strong industrial know how in this field with 5+ patents.
In detail, the main goals of the project are to:
• improve VIA technology and develop actuators that are more robust, more
stable, have reduced oscillatory behaviour, lower cost, have less friction and
wear, etc.
• focus on the introduction of, and improvements in, other physical
impedance parameters, e.g. damping or effective inertia through techniques
originally developed for the VPDA,
• build a prototype of the upper body of a robot for physically
interactive manipulation testing and to compare mature technologies for
lightweight robots (KUKA LWR) with VIA and VPDA technologies.
The resulting developed systems will be capable of:
• more safely co?existing and co?operating with people (co-workers)
and other robots;
• attain performance levels more commonly associated with humans.

For further information on this topic contact Matteo.Laffranchi@iit.it

Theme 2: Development of a high performance haptic tele-manipulation system
Interaction between humans and machines, particularly safe interaction, is a
critical aspect of robotics. The focus of this research is the development of
high fidelity user interfaces for telepresence and teleoperation that can rival
the human hand in terms of manipulating dexterity, see
http://www.iit.it/en/advr-labs/haptic-and-interaction-technologies.html. Within
this research new haptic technologies and techniques will be applied to the
control and operation of the COMAN humanoid
and particular to the development of a high performance, teleoperation system
that will use enhanced levels of haptic feedback to ensure accurate, high
precision and dexterous control and manipulation of remote objects using a
COMAN as the remote system.
The main goals of the project are to:
• enhance the nature of the operator interface at the remote and the user
o at the remote site to use a compliant torque controlled robot arm to
improve control accuracy,
o at the user site to develop high accuracy hand exoskeletons, finger tip
tactile displays and tele-impedance control to augment the user experience and
improve transparency.
Within the framework of a teleoperation platform the ESR will work on:
• development of algorithms for visual, haptic and tactile feedback,
• spatial mapping between the human hand and the robot hand and
• addressing the time delay of the teleoperation system.

For further information on this topic contact Ioannis.Sarakoglou@iit.it

Theme 3: Dexterous Human-robot collaborative manipulation through Learning
using compliant robots within unstructured spaces
The recent development of compliant robots such as COMAN
has opened up a host of new research possibilities in human-robot interaction
and robot learning. Now, robots need not be behind fences (as in large
manufacturing plants), and are increasingly capable of executing tasks in
collaboration with human users. Such human-robot collaboration requires drastic
changes in the way robots move, learn, react, and physically interact with the
users and environment and this flexibility should be in the software as much as
the hardware, i.e. flexibility through learning.
This work will address research themes related to the problem of transferring
bimanual collaborative manipulation skills to robots in a user-friendly manner.
Such skills involve rich and diverse research questions such as passive/active
roles switching, leader/follower behaviours, specialization, turn-taking,
compliance, inter-agent synchronization, action anticipation, intention
recognition in joint action and the use of non-verbal cues to communicate
intent. These issues will be studied in two contexts: 1) with bidirectional
social teaching interaction with the compliant humanoid robot COMAN; 2) within
a manufacturing scenario with an innovative setup based on two 7 DOFs compliant
manipulators with sensorized hands.
The goals of the project are to:
• Develop a dexterous semi-autonomous teleoperation schemes for compliant
Robot operating in not well defined spaces with uncertain physical
• Cope and learn to adapt to collisions and physical interactions .
• Exploration of haptics in teleoperation of compliant robots for
improving performance as well for providing guidance to the operator in the
context of bidirectional coupling.
• Development of data and knowledge fusion technique for the dexterous
manipulation to learn how to detect collisions and react to physical
• Development of a refined control model for flexible regulation of
stiffness and damping behaviours of the compliant robot

For further information on this topic contact Sylvain.Calinon@iit.it

Key eligibility criteria for the post: eligibility and mobility
To be eligible, the candidate must simultaneously fulfill the following
criteria at the time of recruitment:

a) Nationality: The candidate may be of any nationality.

b) Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have
resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for
more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment
under the project. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as
holidays are not taken into account.

c) Qualifications and research experience: At the time of
recruitment, the candidate must not have yet been awarded a doctorate degree;
and they must not have had more than 4 year of full time professional research
experience. The candidate must have as a minimum an excellent Master degrees in
Mechatronics / Mechanical / Electrical engineering, or other related fields.

Employment conditions
Salary will be according to the rules for Early Stage Researchers set out in
the FP7 People Work programme 2008, including living and mobility allowance
(this may vary according to the family situation of the researcher).
Further information about Marie Curie projects can be found at the following
link: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/mariecurieactions/home_en.html
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and detailed Curriculum
Vitae to Darwin Caldwell (Darwin.Caldwell@iit.it ) (Ref: ESR Marie Curie) with
a deadline of Friday 28 February 2014.
The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a
non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating
scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness.
The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level
interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision,
neuroscience, drug discovery, and nanoscience and -technology.
In order to comply with the Italian law (art. 23 of Privacy Law of the Italian
Legislative Decree n. 196/03), we have to kindly ask the candidate to give
his/her consent to allow IIT to process his/her personal data.
We inform you that the information you provided will be used solely for the
purpose of assessing your professional profile to meet the requirements of
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.
Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with
headquarters in Genoa, Via Morego, 30, acting as the Data Holder, using
computer and paper based means, observing the rules on protection of personal
data, including those relating to the security of data.
Please also note that, pursuant to art. 7 of Legislative Decree 196/2003, you
may exercise your rights at any time as a party concerned by contacting the
Data Manager.
The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that
actively seeks diversity in the workforce.


x. Call for 2 ERS (Early Stage Researcher) fellowships within SMART-E Marie Curie Action

Dear all,

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa (SSSA) announces 2 ERS (Early Stage Researcher) fellowships within the European Marie Curie Action ITN (Initial Training Network) project “SMART-E – Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced Robotics Training” for 2 PhD positions in the three-year Ph.D. Programme in BioRobotics managed by the BioRobotics Institute.

The posts are for three years and start in May 1, 2014.

Best regards,

Cecilia Laschi and Paolo Dario

Project title 1:

“Octopus based technologies for manipulation in manufacturing”

Job description:

· Design of the morphology and study of the kinematics of a gripper based on soft robotics technologies
· Development of a soft gripper prototype for manipulation on manufacturing
· Organization of workshops for the Marie-Curie fellows of the projects SMART-E
· Management tasks related to project SMART-E

Project title 2:

“Soft Robotics and Morphological Computation”

Job description:

· Study and characterization of the artificial materials that can reproduce the biological hierarchical organization
· Realization of the materials for the octopus-based soft robotic manipulator
· Organization of workshops for the Marie-Curie fellows of the projects SMART-E
· Management tasks related to project SMART-E

Key eligibility criteria for the posts:

To be eligible, the candidate must simultaneously fulfill all the following criteria at the time of recruitment:

[a] Applicants may be of any nationality and must hold a Master of Science (M.Sc.) Degree or equivalent title, in subjects like mechanical, computer, biomedical, electrical, automation engineering and computer science, and they should not be older than 35 years on February 28th, 2014; applicants older than 35 may be exceptionally admitted by the Examination Committee on the basis of their Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum. Applicants must be Early stage researcher. It means a researcher who, at the time of recruitment, has not yet been awarded the doctorate degree and is in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of his/her research career.

[b] In order to fulfill the eligibility criteria of the Marie Curie ITN at the date of recruitment, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. Italian candidates can apply if they have resided in another country for more than 3 years of the last 4 years.

[c] At the time of recruitment by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, the applicant has not yet been awarded the doctorate degree and he/she is in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of his/her research career.

[d] Students that are going to obtain the M.Sc. Degree no later than the starting date of the Program can also apply. In this case the candidate will be conditionally admitted. In order to be formally admitted he/she will have to declare the successful achievement of the Degree before the beginning of the Program.

Desired Profile of the Applicants:

· Good interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively and cooperatively in a diverse and international team environment and to define and implement solutions in line with team objectives High motivation
· Excellent organizational, reporting and communication skills, as well as a proactive attitude towards solving problems and an interest in BioRobotics
· Team working and availability to travel are essential.
· English language proficiency (written and oral)

Additional information: You will be expected to undertake international travel with short stays in different partner institutes.

What we offer:

We offer an exciting research opportunity at the cutting edge of robotics. You will work with top researchers from academia (University of Salford, University of Zurich, Italian Institute of Technology, Technical University of Munich) and you have the possibility to work and network with industrial partners like Airbus, Festo, Shadow Robot, and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.

The ESRs will receive an yearly gross salary (Living allowance) and a total Mobility allowance depending on family status at date of recruitment. They will undertake a secondment at a beneficiary’s or an associated partner's premises other than those of the beneficiary which has appointed the researcher under the project.

SSSA will cover tuition fees, access to the library and laboratories, the use of the canteen and other services, according to its internal regulations.


The online application (and the detailed call) can be found here:

More information on the project SMART-E can be found here:

and here:



Location: CISM - International Centre for Mechanical Sciences, Udine, Italy -

Dates: September 22 to 26, 2014.


Course Overview:

In singular configurations, the kinetostatic properties of mechanisms undergo
sudden and dramatic changes. Hence the enormous practical value of singularity
analysis for manipulator design and use. Its theoretical importance stems from
the critical role singularity plays in algebraic geometry and in the theory of
differentiable mappings. Attendees will be introduced to milestone results, key
methods, and main problems in singularity analysis. The lectures provide an
overview of cutting-edge work and focus on a few advanced topics.

Course Content:

- Definition, rigorous definition of singularities
- Classification, fundamental taxonomy, types of degeneracy of the forward and
inverse velocity problems, constraint singularities of parallel manipulators,
cusp-like and fold-like singularities
- Identification, calculation of the singularity set, numerical partitioning of
the ambient parameter space
- Avoidance of singularitites, escapements, workspace
- Singularity-set and configuration-space topology
- Mathematical tools and formalisms to analyse singularities in mechanisms,
screw-geometrical techniques and Lie-group-based local-analysis methods


- Manfred Husty (University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria)
- Jean Pierre Merlet (INRIA, Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
- Andreas Mueller ( Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)
- Philippe Wenger (Institut de Recherche en Comm. et Cybernétique de Nantes,
Nantes Cedex 3, France)
- Dimiter Zlatanov (Università di Genova, Genova, Italy)

We would be grateful if you could forward this announcement to your colleagues.

Best regards,

Dimiter Zlatanov, Andreas Müller
- Course Coordinators -


x. RoboSoft: the Coordination Action for Soft Robotics

RoboSoft is an EU-funded Coordination Action (CA) for Soft Robotics under the Future and Emerging Technologies Open Scheme (FP7-ICT-2013-C project #619319), that aims at creating a common forum to help soft robotics researchers to combine their efforts and enable the accumulation and sharing of scientific and technological knowledge to maximize the opportunities and materialize the huge potential impact of soft robotics technologies.

Website: www.robosoftca.eu
Join RoboSoft on Facebook: